Tuesday, 29 July 2008

What On Earth?

OK, OK, I know I only posted something yesterday, but an article that I read on http://writerquake.blogspot.com/ titled “To Talk Of Many Things” reminded me of something I wanted to tell you about.

When I was at school (back when we had to wear leopard skins, carry clubs and chisel our names into granite – or it feels that long ago anyway) me and my 2 friends started ducking out of the grounds at lunch time and going for long walks down the nearby country lanes.

Now, you have to understand that this was Strictly Against The Rules, which stated you were only allowed off school grounds if you were on a list as going home for lunch or had died during a particularly lengthy Rugby scrum, but amazingly we were never caught and were only late back twice in 3 years.

Anyway, in those days there was a big expanse of green belt land behind our school. For those of you who don’t know land in the UK is designated as certain types: Brown belt – previously industrial land, Green belt – “protected” as a green area (note the quotation marks), etc etc etc

This Green Belt land ran for miles, with only a few country lanes leading to farms and a nearby factory. Some years later the Government protection proved to be worth slightly less than a free course in Esperanto (failed project to launch a universal language) as a large connecting road was built through the heart of the green belt land, cutting it in two in order to service the factory.

Most of the country lanes we had walked down swiftly became dead ends and cheap drop centres for the fridges, sofas and burnt out cars of those too lazy and stupid to go to the dump.

But here’s the thing I wanted to tell you: within a few short years these roads had changed beyond belief. Where once there was a road just wide enough for two cars there is now little more than a muddy path; leaves have fallen and stayed, turning to compost for the next generation of plants to grow on and continue the reclamation of the world.

Why do Archaeologists dig in the dirt to uncover the past? It is because Nature is always waiting.

We think that we are so important because we have invented transportation, computers, war and civilization. We think that our needs are so vital that we barely stop to consider the impact they have on the planet and barely pause to think about what kind of world the next generation will find as a result.

But Nature is patient, Nature is strong

And the plants will not miss us when we’re gone.

Quite recently I was stopped by a Manic Street Preacher. Not one of the band from Cardiff (now that would be an interesting story, especially if it were Richey James), but the type trying to sell you on Religion. This chap asked me if I thought the world would survive.

And pretty much my first thought was of that road and how nature had claimed it back within a decade.

The analogy I’ve heard the most often is that time on Earth is a clock – with the Dinosaurs hanging around from 9am until 11am.

In the General Scheme Of Things Humans have been around for about five to ten minutes on that clock. We’ve done a lot in a small period of time – not all of it good, but not all of it bad either.

So if you want my opinion Global Warming will mean changes to the variety of life on Earth, just as that variety has changed before (look what happened to the Dinosaurs). Everything changes and maybe that's not such a bad thing.

But then maybe it’s way past time that we took responsibility for our actions and our impact on the planet. Maybe its time for the human race to grow up?


Anonymous said...

There is an amazing book written by Alan Weisman titled "The World Without Us" that you might enjoy . . .

Great post!

Anonymous said...

::sheaths my blade and sits, uncomfortably, in my samurai armor::

Maybe? It's been time for the human race to grow up since they first got here. With Repubs heavily in control of government, commerce, hierarchy and the like, irresponsibility will always be the rule. As a result, Global Warming, through A Series of Unfortunate Events (sorry, thought I throw the reference in there), will occur and Nature will take the earth back, much like the leaves and muddy path took back that road.

Anonymous said...

There is an amazing test to take to see if you are a good person at www.goodpersontest.com


Honour said...

oh yes. earth will take it back.

in the early days of environmentalism, I remember sitting in class - and our university teaching assistant saying to us ...

we don't need to watch what we do for the earth. she's going to be fine. she'll rebalance and do what she needs to do to restore herself.

But, if we're not careful, its' going to be US that we need to save.

That's why I love that movie with the Ice Age coming back (um, can't remember what it's called with Dennis Quaid and the earth freezes over because of global warming). My favorite part is when the southern countries demand all of their global debt forgiven in excahnge for taking in all the refugees from the north!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Hi tysdaddy - thanks for visiting. I loved your article on Captain Kirk, but couldn't figure out how to leave a comment without exposing myself to the world (and the world doesn't need me exposed) - you will have to explain

Samurai – the Lemony Snicket novels are not as well known here, but I believe they have their following. I missed the film as it had Jim Carrey in it…but what will the Democrats do that’s any different? If it’s anything like the Labour/Conservative parties here the answer is “not a fat lot”

Jim – thanks for visiting. I took the test and guess that based on that I will burn in hell, but at least I won’t have to listen to Cliff Richard for all eternity (sorry, not funny)

Honour – I think the film is “The Day After Tomorrow”. I’ve not seen it, but like the idea of the demand for the debt to be dropped (don’t even get me started on how downright unfair that is)

Lydia said...

Thanks much for an interesting follow-up to my post over at Writerquake (and for the mention). Other readers here have given intriguing ideas and links that I'll check out.

Where I agree that the Earth will take it back, it would take a long time with man's footprint. It's not the same reclaiming a path as it would be to reclaim freeways and all the crap they connect. In the area where I live it's a marvel to witness the healing and regrowth around Mount St. Helens, that erupted in 1980. But that was a natural phenomenon and a part of the story of the ages...

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Lydia - i agree. A path is relatively small compared to our impact and it will take sometime for the earth to recover - but maybe not as long as we think.

If you ever get chance to go to the Aqua Sulis Roman baths in Bath, UK you should go to the highest point of the attraction and peer over the ballustrade at the road - its barely six foot below. So in just a few hundred years something that was street level has been completely swallowed by nature. That's a long time to the likes of you and me, but its peanuts to the causality of time